Electric Ariya: Milestone in Nissan’s Transformation Strategy
Nissan’s Ariya represents a key milestone in the company’s transformation strategy, showcasing many of the strengths of the global automotive giant.
Just a few months ago, Nissan announced a four-year plan to implement various transformation strategies aimed at creating a sustainable and profitable future for the company, while accounting for the recent disruptions caused by COVID-19. CEO Makoto Uchida mentioned some radical changes, including streamlining unprofitable facilities and reorganizing global product lineups.
The Nissan Ariya all-electric coupe is the first global platform that will mark the evolution of the brand, multiplying its strengths and minimizing its weaknesses. With a lounge-like interior, extensive autonomous features, a cutting-edge electric all-wheel-drive system, and intelligent connected integration, Ariya opens a new chapter for Nissan. In fact, Ariya will play a pivotal role in Nissan’s goal of creating “a future with zero emissions and zero vehicle fatalities”.
Nissa Ariya EV Design & Exterior
Ariya’s design marks a completely new direction for Nissan. The all-electric platform allowed designers to explore new avenues that were previously restricted by ICE-powered vehicles. The entire appeal reflects a quintessential Japanese approach, with sleek and futuristic lines and a powerful fascia. The new philosophy embraces Japanese iki aesthetics, in tune with the new all-electric platform’s advantages for design. For example, the front grille utilizes a traditional kumiko pattern that enhances the seamless design while protecting the sensing equipment for ProPILOT functions and key detection sensors, blending both aspects smoothly.
The sharp sides and sleek roofline highlight Ariya’s sporty and athletic character, complemented by the steeply raked C-pillar and high-mounted rear wing. Giovanny Arroba, Senior Design Director for the Ariya, explained how the exterior proportions showcase the possibilities of a 100% electric platform. The shorter overhangs, aggressive roofline, and large wheels balance sport and luxury while adding aerodynamic efficiency to the platform. He noted that since the new GT-R (R36 possibly) is expected to follow this theory, we can expect a similar design language for the much-awaited sports car.
The interior of the Ariya is also radical, with non-traditional design features dominating the space. With comfort and efficiency being of utmost importance, it reflects a lounge-like feeling. Here again, the all-new EV platform allows for more space inside the cabin, allowing designers to utilize the complete length of the available cabin room. Since the powertrain components are compact, the climate control system has been moved under the hood, freeing up more space inside. The non-intrusive transmission tunnel and tucked-in cabin systems under the instrument panel further allow for a neater dashboard design.
Engineers have used slim profile Zero Gravity seats, offering more legroom to all occupants. Design minimalism has been taken to the next level, with the dashboard devoid of any buttons or switches, as in normal cars. Instead, engineers have integrated these functions into the wooden center dashboard as capacitive haptic buttons. These buttons vibrate when touched to confirm a user’s input. The materials used in the interior differ from those of luxury vehicles and exude more technology and utility than pure luxury.
The higher shoulder line enhances the coupe design and shows the possibilities of a 100 percent electric platform.
Nissan’s All-electric powertrain with e-4ORCE AWD
Ariya’s all-electric powertrain comes with the e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive system, which sacrifices some range for performance and autonomous driving capabilities. The platform will be offered with 63 kWh (usable) and 87 kWh (usable) battery capacities, in both two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive setups. The 63 kWh 2WD model has a range of 450 km, and the 87 kWh 2WD can run for 610 km. Both 2WD models have a torque of 300 Nm, accelerate from 0-100 km/h in around 7.5 seconds, and have a top speed of 160 km/h. The 63 kWh AWD model returns a range of 430 km, has a torque of 560 Nm, has a top speed of 200 km/h, and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds. The most powerful 87 kWh AWD model can run 580 km on a full charge, has a torque of 600 Nm, and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds.
The e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive system, developed from Nissan GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS torque split system and Patrol’s intelligent 4X4 system, offers tremendous performance capabilities. The twin-electric motors and e-4FORCE system manage the power output and braking performance for more traction and stability on various road surfaces. The system has been fine-tuned with the addition of regenerative rear-motor braking, which minimizes vehicle pitch and dive, offering more comfort to occupants. Ariya also boasts efficient battery thermal control and 130 kW peak charging, enabling a 30-minute quick charge from a CHAdeMO charging system to return 375 km range. The two-wheel-drive models will cater to urban commuters, who may choose a bigger battery capacity for longer journeys.
DRIVER ASSISTANCE TECH
Perhaps one of the most important developments and technological advancements on the Ariya will be the latest Nissan ProPILOT 2.0 advanced driver assistance and ProPILOT remote park systems. Already a successful setup on the Leaf EV, the 2.0 version is further expanded to support multi-lane highway driving tasks like lane changing, passing, and highway exiting. The full bells and whistles model with the 87 kWh battery and e-4FORCE hardware will get the highest level of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, along with ProPILOT 2.0. An array of seven cameras, five millimeter-wave radars, and 12 ultrasonic sonar sensors are able to detect objects and lane markers to offer hands-off single-lane driving along predefined routes and lane changes with a button-push confirmation.
The ProPILOT park feature helps the driver by recognizing a parking spot and guiding the vehicle toward it. Furthermore, the Ariya will be offered with ProPILOT Remote Park in Japan, with remote guidance via a dedicated intelligent key. The key can be used to remotely guide the vehicle into a parking spot when standing within six meters. Other features include a forward collision warning, an around-view monitor, rear automatic emergency braking, and a lot of connected car convenience features for entertainment and security.
The Nissan Ariya is the clearest indication that the company’s transformation plan will focus on sustainability and the advancement of driver aid technology while keeping the joy of driving. The new design language’s futuristic bent is warmly welcomed as it combines intelligent space utilisation, avant-garde materials, and maximum comfort.
Although the 5 million yen announced price is a little on the high side, EV-centric incentives might be able to help buyers. Ariya might be a key to boosting sales in important areas, given the current market conditions and Nissan’s new transformation plan.